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I recently started a sugar cane farm, and I'm just curious as to the rate at which sugar cane grows.

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

I have an automatic piston-harvested farm with 16 cane plants harvested every ~10 seconds. Here are two different estimations of the rate. By "growth" I mean the event of one block being added to the top of a sugar cane plant.

  • When I watch the farm running, it seems to drop about 1 cane every 2 cycles (but this is a fuzzy memory); this would be a rate of (1 cane)/(20 seconds)/(16 plants) = 1/320 growths per plant per second.

  • When I come by to collect its drops, I usually get 6-8 canes (but this excludes the number which miss the water stream and get stuck inside the farm); if the farm has been active and the collection point untouched for a full 5 minutes = 300 seconds (item despawn time), then we get (8 canes)/(300 seconds)/(16 plants) = 1/600 growths per plant per second.

The latter figure is probably closer to correct as it does not involve an estimation of probability.

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So between 5 to 10 minutes? – Resorath Jul 20 '11 at 22:42
Yes, but recognize that that's for one plant. – Kevin Reid Jul 20 '11 at 23:57
Dang, are you trying to corner the Sugar market? What do you need all that sugar cane for, anyway? :) – Cyclops Jul 21 '11 at 14:29
The occasional bookcase or cake? — The thing here is that this is running all the time, and I've arranged so that I run over the drops whenever I arrive at my base from a railway. Thus I gather materials without needing to take any action. At that amount of inattention, this much cane collection is just right. — Also, if you think this is too much, you haven't seen my cactus farm (which goes into the same collection system). If you like, check it out on my server at! – Kevin Reid Jul 21 '11 at 15:19
Also, sugar cane grows faster when planted on sand than on regular dirt or grass. – CodingInLua Nov 30 '13 at 17:48

Sugar cane grows using block ticks. Every 16 block ticks it grows, and each block tick happens on average every 68 seconds, that means on average a sugar cane will grow every 1088 seconds, or 18 minutes 8 seconds. This is only with optimal conditions however. Watch all of Wubbi's video, it's really helpful and accurate.


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Mine grow by one block every 18 mins. I have harvested about 600 sugar cane last week so I'M the one cornering the sugar market.

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It takes exacally 20.3 seconds for it to grow. However, if you do not have water around it, it takes 50.80 seconds! ○:

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There is no exact time. It's random. Water is also irrelevant to growth rate. – Skylinerw Jun 6 at 5:00

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